In our last post, we made a few cocky predictions about the new Trump Administration’s Cuba policy. We correctly asserted that the President would try to chart a narrow course between the Scylla of conservative Cuban-American expectations for an outright return to the embargo and the Charybdis of U.S. interests (business, strategic, and cultural) in improving Cuban relations. But how did our more substantive predictions fare? Okay, it’s a little hard to tell from the President’s actual speech, which was not full of policy detail. Fortunately, there is the Department of Treasury, whose overworked, understaffed Office of Foreign Assets Control provided a helpful FAQ page, and the White House staff, who produced a fact sheet on the new policy. In any event, nothing is final until OFAC issues regulations to implement the new policy.
Comparing our predictions to the actual outcome as outlined in the Administration’s documents, here’s our scorecard:
So how did we fare? 5 greens and 4 reds. In baseball that’s an other-worldly .555 batting average. In a high school grade point average, we’re flunking out. Since it’s a prediction involving sanctions policy, we’ll call it somewhere in between and declare a modest victory. (We were alerted by some of our readers that my admittedly flippant use of the religious term “Santería” in our last Cuba post as a synonym for “predictions of the future” could be offensive to believers in the Santería or Yoruba religions. On reflection, I’m sorry for using the term that way. I meant no offense, and welcome the opportunity to reflect and to be more sensitive in the future).
We’re currently helping clients sort out the shrapnel of the new policy. Remember, the new policy does not become law until new regulations are issued. We’ll keep you informed as developments warrant. Bonus prediction: we are guessing OFAC will issue implementing regulations in late September.